Tuesday, June 03, 2008

WAPL -- A Summary

I summarized PLA the other day, now it is time for WAPL. The same certification rules apply, and given that I have five years to complete 100 hours of CE, I am well on track. With last year's more than 20 hours, and almost 25 hours so far this year, I have nothing to worry about (I think). As a further note, Terry Dawson compiled what he (and I) believe is a complete list of blog posts on WAPL. If you are interested in the various views (and some of us blogged the same sessions), visit his list.

The Keynote address at WAPL was critical. In it David Ward of Northstar Economics presented the basic information from the economic impact study which his firm completed. In it he positioned the public library sector as a key to economic development. David presented a number of key economic concepts. The message which we who are library workers need to deliver to our stakeholders including elected officials, city managers, and business leaders is that for every dollar invested in the operation of a public library, the community receives, at a minimum, $4.06 of direct economic impact.

After the keynote, I attended the break out session which included further discussion of the economic impact study. The focus of this session was how to present the results of the economic impact study. There are several talking points, and here is what I learned (I sent this as a quote to the WLA Executive Director yesterday): "For a long time we have known that the Library was the single busiest destination in Downtown Eau Claire with over 1,500 people visiting us each day, seven days a week. What this study shows is the dollar value attached to those visits. If 30% of our visitors spend and average of $25 per person, the economic impact of having the Library downtown is $11,250 per day, which is more than it costs to run the library for a day."

The other key concept is that for every $1 of tax dollars invested in operating a public library, the local economy gets at least $4, and for every library job there is another job in the community. One of the key issues about the $4 is that most of that money is spent within the local community since that is where our library workers live.

We need to frequently communicate that message.

I am skipping the luncheon speakers for both days, I may blog that separately, if I feel so moved.

After lunch I went to a session on strategic planning for results. Cheryl Becker talked about the new PLA publication which served as the basis for the library's recent RFP for a strategic planner. I learned some of the key concepts underlying the process, and now more clearly understand the nature of one of the responses to the RFP. It was a critically important program for me.

My "official" day ended with CE in Your Pajamas. At the very least, go to the blog post to see John DeBacher in his PJs for the program! The panel covered a number of different technologies used for distance CE including some live demos. It was well worth it to learn about some of the many options out there.

Friday morning I was a little late getting to the program Have You Heard About? which was an incredibly fast paced move and demonstration of a huge number of various technology sites and tools around the web. They used a del.icio.us page (which is linked here). It has helped me to begin to understand del.icio.is a little, even if I don't use it much....and there is a wealth of information to be mined here.

I did not blog the one other program I attended, and the two luncheon speakers are on the WLA blog (Thursday, Friday).

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